• Thursday, Feb 09, 2023
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Trump’s unlikely gift to Europe

  • Published at 01:56 pm June 4th, 2017
Trump’s unlikely gift to Europe

Five letters grabbed the headlines over and over again in Germany this week: T-R-U-M-P.

And after spending a day in Berlin at the “T20” -- an event designed to bring ideas for solutions to global problems to the G20, one overriding takeaway emerged: The American president is driving other countries to clarify their ideas about the importance of globalisation and governance in ways that he likely never imagined and Washington never intended.

America may have been one of the founders of the G20, but the band sounds ready to move on without its lead vocalist -- or at least to hum a different harmony while the United States sings its own tune.

Call it the silhouette hanging over the room. Trump and his view of “America first, Paris maybe not, free trade not so much” hung over nearly every conversation and discussion about where the G20 is headed this year and next, and how it will proceed now that the nation that was once a central organiser is now a central organising principle -- a founding force for global cooperation and collaboration that once rallied Europe, but which now stands tall and loud in Berlin and Paris as a symbol of how not to act toward your partners.

In Europe’s view, United States is no longer the sun, but the shadow of global alliances.

Donald doesn’t believe in climate science

In just about every conversation, Trump’s name was invoked, not as an example, or even as a punch line, but as the source of potential danger -- a leader who doesn’t much care about rules-based order, cooperation across borders on issues such as climate change, or what the idea of “global governance” means. A leader who is tossing over the apple cart of commonly accepted wisdom when it comes to America’s role in facilitating stability and prosperity worldwide.

Indeed, those who oppose Trump did not hide their feelings about what he means for this moment.

In just about every conversation, Trump’s name was invoked, not as an example, or even as a punch line, but as the source of potential danger

“Trump by himself makes the world dangerous, but he also represents larger US forces,” said economist Jeffrey Sachs during his speech in Berlin. “Do not argue with Donald Trump about climate science; he would only enjoy it. He would look at you like you are the fool to argue with him because he doesn’t give a damn about climate science.”

Lars Hendrik-Roeller, chief economic adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a key adviser regarding Germany’s G20 presidency, was careful to not comment on American decisions regarding climate change when answering questions about whether there is a G20 or whether there is, in fact, a G19 plus one.

Global relationships are in transition

The trans-Atlantic relationship, so long discussed in hushed terms as central to Germany and a significant support for the European Union, now sits in the centre of the ring, pummeled by an American leader not sure how much he wants to tend to it and a Europe re-thinking whether that relationship is still vital. Or at least plotting its path forward with less American support, if necessary.

For those in Germany who were already committed to rethinking the post-World War II order, it seems America already has beaten them to it by electing a leader who is less likely to soothe European fears of a fraying friendship than stoke them.

What does the future hold?

And for those in the emerging world already tired of waiting for rich nations to remember they have a seat at the table, Trump offers an opportunity to define not just what their nations stand for -- such as a commitment to combating climate change -- but what they don’t.

Or as Argentine economist Beatriz Nofal noted while on stage in Berlin, it is up to Argentina, which next holds the G20 presidency, and other emerging nations to chart the way forward in the absence of US leadership.

So, whether intentionally or not, Trump has managed to do something rare among American presidents: Unify the Europeans, galvanise the globalisers, and offer future G20 leaders a chance to define themselves in contrast to an America no longer at the centre of global cooperation.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is the author of New York Times best-sellers Ashley’s War and The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This article first appeared on Reuters.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail